A Collaborative Project at the Texas-Tamaulipas Border

Program Contact

Bertha Bermúdez-Tapia

Ph.D. Candidate

Bertha.BermudezTapia@colorado.edu

956.212.1963

The U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the Texas-Tamaulipas border, is experiencing an important migratory movement composed of thousands of migrants from Central America and the Caribbean seeking asylum in the U.S. Due to COVID-19, asylum seekers are expelled from the U.S based on the Public Health Service Act in Title 42 of the U.S. Code and all asylum requests are currently suspended. Hundreds of families are coming into the area every day from Central America and Haiti. The streets surrounding the points of entry to the U.S. in two Tamaulipas cities – Matamoros and Reynosa – are now full of asylum seekers with no place to go, and almost all the local shelters are overflowing.

This project works to respond to this humanitarian crisis and address some of the urgent needs for public health, clean water, and education in the migrant shelters and for unhoused migrant populations.

The work in Tamaulipas includes:

  • Holding community meetings to learn more about the needs of the migrant population living in the shelters and on the streets. 
  • Developing a STEM curriculum, teach STEM classes for the migrant children living in Matamoros and Reynosa, and let the kids partake in supervised experiments and activities.
  • Collaborating with Casa del Migrante Matamoros on general site infrastructure and improvements, including the design and installation of a roof expansion for their dining area, improving the quality of the service that the shelter provides to migrants, and allowing the use of the dining room as a multipurpose space where the STEM classes and the community meetings can be hosted,
  • Implementing a sanitation and hygiene promotion campaign to reduce the spread of contagious diseases, prevent food- and water-borne illnesses, and ensure safe and sanitary spaces for asylum seekers living in migrant shelters and on the streets that includes:
    • Feminine menstrual hygiene workshops to teach women how to sew reusable menstrual pads. 
    • Donated hygiene kits – complete with menstrual pads, condoms, soap, and more – will be distributed to migrant women and LGBTQ people.
    • Community-sized water filters will be installed at the shelters to provide clean and safe drinking water, which can prevent common and preventable ailments such as diarrhea. 
  • Community Meetings

    Location

    Outside Us

    Matamoros, Tamaulipas Reynosa, Tamaulipas

    Dates

    Ongoing

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    To gauge the needs of the migrant communities in Matamoros and Reynosa, and to get feedback on our projects, our team commits to planning and hosting regularly scheduled community meetings. At these meetings, we hope to gain general knowledge about the migrant population (stats and demographics), as well as discuss our projects to ensure our work is the most effective it can be.

  • Hygiene Kits

    Location

    Outside Us

    Matamoros, Tamaulipas Reynosa, Tamaulipas

    Dates

    6/1/2021 - 8/31/2021

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Women and LGBTQ asylum seekers on the migrant trail are among the most vulnerable to being assaulted and becoming victims of gender-based violence, rape, and murder. To make their journey slightly more tolerable, our team has decided to collate and distribute hygiene kits specifically geared towards the needs of women and LGBTQ people.

  • STEM Classes

    Location

    Outside Us

    Casa del migrante Matamoros (migrant shelter Senda de Vida in Reynosa (migrant shelter)

    Dates

    6/1/2021 - 8/31/2021

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Our team will be creating a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum, and teaching that curriculum to children living in the migrant communities in Matamoros and Reynosa. This curriculum includes at least 10 full lessons, with associated activities/experiments, to be taught in Spanish. Kids aged 7-12 are invited to participate.

  • Shelter and Site Infrastructure

    Location

    Outside Us

    Casa del Migrante Matamoros (Migrant shelter)

    Dates

    6/1/2021 - 8/31/2021

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Due to the large population of asylum seekers, many of the migrant shelters are at overcapacity. At Casa del Migrante Matamoros, the dining room has been converted into a living/sleeping area, and the residents have been forced to eat on the outside patio, in the sun and heat. We will be taking on the task of design and construct a roof over the dining patio.

Sponsoring Units

  • College of Arts & Sciences

  • Department of Sociology
  • College of Engineering & Applied Science

  • Department of Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering

Program Partners

  • Solidarity Engineering
  • Villanova University
  • Casa Del Migrante Matamoros

Audiences Served

  • Families
  • General Public
  • Minority Group(s)
  • Non-Profit Organization
  • Students - Elementary School
  • International